**The way I will be writing this out will be as if you are watching this in movie form. The reader won't know any exposition through thoughts or backstory, etc. (with the exception of the beginning of this chapter). So it will basically be like reading a screenplay for a movie, except it's written more like a traditional book. Hope that all makes some sense**

Chapter One: New In Town

Nighttime in Gotham, a period during which the only light in the sky the criminal underworld concerned themselves with were the moon and stars. Usually. But the Bat Signal that loomed in the midnight black is currently absent, and has been for three years now. Crime has creeped back on the rise like a predatory creature sensing no danger and lurking out of the shadows once more.

The innocent people of the city wonder and hope for another white knight to come to their aid, to fight against the returning darkness. Some of them, in retrospect, should have considered it too good to be true a person like Harvey Dent existed in their city and created such a great burn on its criminal activity within such a short time. To them, he was a true hero. A man who worked inside the lines of the law with the police to apprehend all those men in one fell gallant swoop...

But then the Batman...he had to snuff off that light. The district attorney...gone, along with two cops. Killed by the Dark Knight. And he truly was dark in the eyes of Gotham's citizens. Why, why would the Batman do such a thing? What on earth possessed him to act on such a horrible decision. He was a symbol for many, an inspiration. Several attempted to follow his example to fight back against crime. But alas, it seemed the Bat was no different than any notorious criminal from the underworld, a notion which severely injured the feeling of hope from many innocent people.

However, tonight, unbeknownst to them, someone new lurks in the city's shadows, using them to their advantage to fight back.

In an alleyway a young man and woman are making out when two thugs appear around the corner. They heard those familiar moaning sounds as first and second base were being covered and wanted in on the action...without the boyfriend, of course. One of them gives an admiring whistle and says "Check out the legs on that one, man." His buddy chuckles and says how he'd love to feel between them. The couple hears them and sees them coming. But before either of them could get away, the boy is grabbed by one of them, pounded hard in the stomach and he crumples to the ground. The girl screams and makes to slap the second brute in the face, but he snatches her arm mid-swing and spins her around. She's held tight against him with her back against his chest. The first guy steps up and grabs hold of her jean shorts, unbuttoning them and yanking down the zipper. The girl's weak nudges to shove him and his partner off are easily overpowered, her screams and shouts ignored. Her shorts are about to be shoved down...

WHACK! The second guy releases his grip on the girl as he collapses to the ground. Behind him is a figure in what looks like a black tactical outfit and a red full-face biker's helmet. His buddy freezes on the spot.

"What the...?" is all he utters before the assailant is on him, hooking him to the cheek and bringing him to the ground beside his friend. He then immediately pins him down with a knee to his chest. The thug struggles to fend him off and the assailant nails him square in the nose to stop him. And that's when he pulls out his combat knife...

A group of men are out on one of the loading docks. They have a delivery of smuggled heroin they've been waiting on. They're unloading it from the shipping container and moving it to their minivan, ready to be distributed.

"All right, that's half of it. Almost done," says one of the men.

They all hear a noise out of nowhere, a yelp and then a loud thud.

"What the hell...?"

All six of them turn toward the direction of the sound, away from the dock. They knew their man Chuck was keeping a look out for the cops. Did they find them? No...they would have heard sirens followed by announcing shouts.

The six of them took a couple steps toward the source of the noise, guns raised.

"Chuck! You good, man?"

Nothing.

There's silence for couple more seconds, and then they are attacked from behind. A figure in black and a red helmet begins wailing on them with handguns in his fists. He moves with frightening fluidity and finesse. The six of them attempt to go hand-to-hand with him, but he is much too quick and better trained. They attempt to shoot him down but he fires right back, only his bullets actually hit them... A kneecap, a leg, an arm... One by one they're quickly brought down, moaning and groaning and holding their newly-injured body parts. That's when they notice the mysterious figure has vanished. They have no clue who he could be...

...but he sure isn't the Batman.

"New Vigilante Terrorizes Gotham" reads the headline of a newspaper Detective Ramirez slaps on the desk of Commissioner James Gordon. Gordon looks down at it.

"Him again?"

"One of the gang members that got jumped last night confirmed it was him by his red helmet. Incapacitated all six of them with his handguns."

Gordon shakes his head. "Jesus... This and mugging those rapists a few days before."

"Technically there was no rape involved."

"Well there would have been had he not cut off his..." He motions with his hand up in the air as he trails off.

Ramirez smirks a bit. "You sure you want to go after this new guy, chief?"

Gordon looks up at her, raising an eyebrow. "I take it you don't. Why's that?"

She simply shrugs. "I know it won't be the most popular opinion, but... It's the first time crime has dropped any since the Batman went on the run."

"That doesn't excuse the fact that this new vigilante has been coloring outside the lines just as Batman has, detective. In fact, I don't know if you've noticed, but this one's worse. Before..." He pauses a second, a mournful look on his face, "...before Dent, Batman never killed anyone. This guy's already firing bullets and lobbing off body parts. It won't be long until he simply kills someone, if he hasn't already done so."

Ramirez considers this for a couple seconds before saying "Less people to take care of in prison then." Gordon frowns at her, to which she merely shrugs and says "Just saying..."

Gordon sighs again and chooses to change the subject. "Anything new on the burglar?"

"Not since the robbery last week."

"Hm." Gordon stands up and faces his cork board where a couple photos are tacked; black and white grainy camera images of a feminine figure in a body suit, the head of the outfit is shaped with ears like a cat. Gordon stares at the photos for a moment. "And when security tried to stop her she used what?"

"A bullwhip, sir."

Gordon shakes his head. "Seems everyone new in this city has to have some sort of gimmick..."

"Well...that would be because of you-know-who," says Ramirez with another smirk before she exits the office. Gordon watches her leave and then returns his attention to the headline on the paper, lifting it up to read it.

Under a bridge downtown a maroon van pulls up and parks. Three men in dress shirts and suit jackets step out carrying either handguns or automatic weapons. Just as they do, another one, black, pulls up from where the first men came from and parks right beside them. Three more armed men exit the vehicle, dressed in similar fashion. All except one, wearing what looks like a potato bag over his head, holes were cut for eyes and frown stitched with black thread. The Scarecrow, Doctor Jonathan Crane.

One of the men from the maroon van speaks first. "I didn't think you'd show I'm still surprised you called us in the first place."

Scarecrow holds up his arms. "I welcome anyone willing to help me take out Don Falcone...but I also welcome any new potential buyers."

"So you brought them?"

He gestures to behind the vehicles. "Right this way."

All the men follow Scarecrow to the back of the black van. He opens it, revealing a large black container and pops it open. Inside are some automatic weapons.

"Everything here as I described, gentlemen," says Crane. The men from the maroon van each take one and inspect them; weighing them, holding them to eye level and taking aim, checking the magazines, etc. Some words of approval are muttered among them.

"And," Crane continues as he pulls out a small suitcase, "as a token of gratitude toward your investment..." He opens the case and takes out a small glass bottle of grey liquid, giving it a tiny shake. "a sample of my new compound. This one is non-toxic, but it will terrorize the mind twice as long as the original."

The investor gives him a nod. "We'll take it." He gestures to one of his men and he obtains a suitcase of their own from their van, opens it and shows the cash inside. There's a moment of pause as the Scarecrow's men curl their lips into small smiles...but it's cut short by a sultry female voice which makes some of them jump and raise their weapons.

"Mm, that's a lot of money..."

She seemingly appears from nowhere and all of them turn to face her. She's a shapely young woman in a skin-tight leather bodysuit. The head of her costume has ears on top shaped like those of a cat. Tufts of black hair are seen peeking out of her cowl. Around her waist is some sort of utility belt, similar to the Batman, while rolled up in one hand she holds what looks like a bullwhip. Some of the men are a bit nonplussed upon seeing her, unsure what to make of her appearance, while others, perhaps, become slightly aroused by it.

"Imagine what a girl like me could do with so much of it." Then she unrolls her whip. A couple of the men step forward, ready to shoot if necessary, but the woman makes the first move instead... She snaps her whip and it strikes the hand of the man closest to her, causing him to drop his handgun in a painful yelp. A couple more quick flicks of her wrist and two more guns fall to the ground along with two barks of pain as the owners clutch at their wrists. She then dashes forward, places her hands on the closest one's shoulder, pushes herself up, steps on them and does an acrobatic flip launching herself to the other three men. She agilely disarms them with a sweeping kick and some quick punches, managing to avoid Scarecrows gas in the process as it backfires onto one of his henchmen. The remaining three men run to meet her but she handles them as well with a couple more kicks and blows to the face. The whole encounter is over in just a couple short minutes. All six of them are on the ground and seemingly for the next little while. The woman smirks, rolls up her whip and clips it back to her belt, and then waltzes over to the case of money by one of the moaning bodies.

"Pleasure doing business with you, boys," she says as she picks it up. "I'll be on my way now." And then she eyes the small case of Crane's fear gas. "Hm...and I'll just help myself to this, too."

She walks away from them, one case in each hand, with a satisfied look as if having achieved a successful shopping spree. But she's only a few yards from the vans when a dark figure lands on the ground, using his cape to ease his descent. His appearance was hard to mistake: black full body armor, utility belt, black gauntlets with fins attached, and an emblem resembling a bat across the pectorals. The young woman wasn't expecting a visit from the Batman, yet she seems slightly amused to see him here.

"You must be the cat burglar I've heard about," he says in a growling voice.

The woman smirks and gives a tiny laugh. "Hm. And you must be the bat who killed Dent that everyone knows about."

Batman gives no response to this, so she continues. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to stop Scarecrow," he answers.

Another small laugh as she looks behind her. "Well it looks like I beat you to him. You're welcome. So you'll excuse me." She makes to walk past him but he steps in front of her.

"Do you want the gas? Here," she holds up the small case, "take it to the cops. Or keep it! I won't tell..."

"I can't let you take that money."

"Need it to buy more gadgets?"

He simply glares at her. The cat burglar sighs. "Fine..."

She sets down both cases to her side...and then throws a high kick to his side, which he blocks. She thrusts a couple punches at him, he knocks them away. The two of them scuffle for a short time, the woman attempting to hit him while he stays on the defensive. The latter backfires on him, however, as the cat slightly gains the upper hand. She lands a couple good punches and a side thrust-kick to the bat's abdomen. He shuffles back, nearly falling backward. There's a pause between them for a few seconds as they both catch their breath.

"You're pretty good," says the bat.

"Well my mother told me I should learn to defend myself, so..."

"I don't want to hurt you."

"Aw, well isn't that sweet of you," she says mockingly. "You'll kill a cop but you won't hurt a woman, how very noble."

Batman's response leaves his lips before he thinks to stop them. "I didn't kill those people..."

"Oh no? Then who did?"

But Batman doesn't say anything to this, to which the cat woman replies, "What's the matter Big Bad Bat...cat got your tongue?" She doesn't wait for him to answer, though. She quickly strikes him again while his guard is down. Batman staggers a bit until he regains his footing and returns to the defensive, attempting to either trip her over or restrain her. Neither of them are coming to him easily; the young woman proves too quick and agile for him, showing exceptional skill and stamina. But as she shoves another kick his way, he catches her leg and shoves her backward, landing on her back with thud and a loud grunt. Her cheek gets scraped on the pavement.

"Now that's more like it..." She grins as she gets back up and stretches out the fingers her gloves. As she does, steel claws extend from the tips, triggered by pressure switches inside them. She throws a couple more high kicks at Batman to distract him as he dodges them, and swings an open palm on his left forearm, tearing through his armor and opening fresh cut. Blood shines through and lightly stains his suit. Batman gives a loud yelp before being struck across the cheek and falls over from a sweeping kick.

The cat woman walks away, retrieves the cases once more and turns to face the bat.

"Ta ta, Batman...," she says to him before taking her leave for the night.

Batman pushes himself to his feet with a small groan.

" 'Should do fine against cats', huh, Lucius?"